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Vigil Held for Missing Teen as Police Follow New Lead

By: Ruth Morton Email
By: Ruth Morton Email

November 28, 2012

Police are looking for Erik McFadden in connection with the disappearance of 19-year-old Dashad Smith.

Smith was last seen just over a week ago on West Main Street. Smith, who is known to dress in drag, also goes by the name Sage.

Police say McFadden told them he talked with Smith on the day he disappeared and was supposed to meet him near the Amtrak station on West Main Street.

McFadden said that meeting never took place.

Now police say they have reason to believe McFadden has left the Charlottesville area.

People who knew and people who had heard of the missing Charlottesville teenager held a vigil to keep his name in headlines and police's minds gathered at Lee Park.

"We shall overcome someday," the group sang.

Sojourners United Church of Christ organized the vigil for family members, friends, and the LGBTQ community to raise awareness that Smith is missing and loved.

People sang, spoke, and prayed, many saying that they wanted more coverage and police effort to find Smith.

"There is some frustration, and I think that it's important to give voice to that and to channel that frustration and some of that righteous anger into action. And there are things that we can do as a community," said Melanie Miller, the Pastor at Sojourners United Church of Christ.

"People showed up that we thought weren't going to show up," Precious Page, Smith's high school classmate.

Cynthia Jackson, also a classmate of Smith, agreed. "A lot of support. A lot of support," Jackson added.

To keep this story in the news, to keep law enforcement focused on the task of finding Dashad.

"I have fears that because of who Dashad is, because he is Sage, that maybe that is one of the reasons," said Miller. "Sage is made in the image of God, is loved. The community of faith supports the family...the LGBTQ community here in Charlottesville, we stand in solidarity with you, we love you, and we desperately want Dashad to be brought home safe."

"We miss him and we just want to get to the bottom of it to know that he's okay," said Page.

"Return him home safely," said Jackson.

If you have any information on Smith or McFadden, give Crimestoppers a call at 434-977-4000.

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